Teaching Resilience: How to Prepare Your Child for College

Starting college is so much more than having achieved academic success sufficient for chosen college. The transition from the student’s family home to the college set includes so many changes that it’s vital every young person is ready and prepared for the next stage in their life. Sometimes students fail to adapt to the new environment, which leads to frustration and disappointment, which are in turn reflected in their academic achievement. Many of them even drop out of college because they are not prepared properly for a life away from their families.

In order to prevent this from happening, parents should help their kids face the new challenges with enough confidence and resilience. The preparation should not start just before the moment when your pride and joy is supposed to leave home, but much earlier. Your parenting methods and techniques will be tested like never before when your kid is on their own, with other students, trying to adapt to the new setting. So, what is it that we can do to help this transition go smoothly?

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Do not overprotect them

If your child has been protected from failure and the lessons that can be learned from it, they will most likely find it hard to deal with some inevitable failure at college. It’s quite normal that parents wish to protect their children as much as possible, but not allowing them to accept failures and learn to move on actually means we are depriving them of an invaluable life lesson. In particular, if we’re talking about high achievers, without resilience, it will be very hard for them to get into Harvard University or a similar renowned educational institution.

If the child doesn’t understand that being knocked down is something that happens to everyone, but that the important thing is how we get up and continue fighting, they will struggle to accept getting a grade below their expectation and will most likely try to find excuses and blame everyone but themselves. That’s why it’s important to allow them to experience failure and help them get back on their feet.

Help them cope with failure

No-one likes seeing their child experience failure, but if we help them realize that this is a normal part of everyone’s life and show them support, we’ll prepare them for college life. It’s a good idea to encourage them to take the most challenging courses in high school, thus getting used to increased pressure. Even though the final grades may not be the highest, they will learn what it means to deal with quite demanding academic requirements and will probably learn more about themselves.

If the child is used to dealing with pressure and equipped with tools for coping with stress, they won’t be so shocked when they start college and won’t try to cure their depression by turning to drinking, drug use, overeating and other completely inappropriate methods for coping with stress.

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Show them love by saying “no”

Although they may not see it as being helpful, refusing to help them with homework and various school projects is actually showing your love and support. Namely, your child should be prepared to complete a project from start to finish by themselves and they can only get to that stage if they go through some tough times. However, the efficacy they gain will prove priceless once they are in college, where they can’t rely on anyone but themselves.

You need to count on your child procrastinating at first, but that should change as they gain more experience and realize that the completion of a task depends solely on them. The independence and self-reliance that will inevitably be instilled are exactly the traits that college education requires and no matter how difficult it may be for us parents to see our kids struggle, we need to persevere and help them learn this valuable life lesson for their own good.

Allow freedom

Your child needs to start making their own decisions, even though that means some of them will be wrong. College life offers some free time and undergraduates will often struggle with handling it the right way. This means you’ll have no control whatsoever over their life and everything they’ve learned until that time should help them organize their time well and make the decisions that would not have a major negative effect.

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Teach them to alleviate anxiety and stress levels

No college education is stress-free and your kid should be prepared for more stress than ever. Not only are they facing different educational challenges, but they also have to deal with many other aspects of living away from home. If they don’t know how to deal with stressful situations, help them use some breathing techniques when feeling anxious. They need to be aware of the big picture and understand why they are going to college and that is something that can’t be done overnight, but rather instilled over a long period, while they are still living with you.

Starting college is a big change in everyone’s life and we need to do our best as parents to help our kids be as ready as possible for that big challenge. Independence, resilience, and self-confidence are the key aspects of a successful academic career and our kids should possess these qualities.

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